Cabrera-Bello, Lee share lead in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Rafael Cabrera-Bello bogeyed his final hole on Friday to fall back into a share of the lead after the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Cabrera-Bello posted a 4-under 68 to end 36 holes at 9-under-par 135. He was joined there by Craig Lee, who carded a 5-under 67 in round two. Cabrera-Bello is a two-time winner on the European Tour, while Lee is searching for his first tour title.
Danny Willett missed the course record by one shot on Friday as he fired a 9- under 63 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. He soared into third place at minus-8.
Two-time runner-up Rory McIlroy carded a 5-under 67 and moved into a share of fourth at 7-under 137. He stands alongside Thomas Bjorn (67) and Ricardo Gonzalez (66).
McIlroy played the front nine in even-par with a pair of birdies and a double- bogey. Around the turn, he poured in five birdies to fly up the leaderboard.
"I started pretty well, but I made a bad swing on six and made double-bogey there. Getting back to even-par for my round after nine was important," McIlroy stated. "Then I gave myself a target of 4-under on the back and I was able to go one better than that, so it was a good way to finish the day."
Tommy Fleetwood posted a 7-under 65 to climb into a tie for seventh at minus-6. He was joined there by George Coetzee and Joost Luiten, who both shot 70 on Friday.
British Open champion Phil Mickelson carded a 2-under 70 to end 36 holes at 1- under 143. Sergio Garcia birdied four of the first eight holes, then closed with 10 pars in a row. Garcia shot 68 to make the cut on the number at even- par 144.
Mickelson bogeyed the first, but came back with a birdie on No. 3. He birdied the sixth and eighth to move to minus-1. After dropping a shot at the 10th, he atoned for that mistake with a birdie on No. 14.
The world No. 5 tripped to a bogey at 16, but closed with a birdie at the last. His five birdies came a day after his first birdie-free round since the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open.
Cabrera-Bello, who shared the first-round lead with Romain Wattel and Matthew Baldwin, started his round with a birdie on the par-5 10th. After seven consecutive pars, he birdied the par-5 18th to make the turn at 7-under.
The Spaniard followed with birdies on one and two to grab a piece of the lead with Lee. Cabrera-Bello's run of three straight birdies ended at the third, where he stumbled to a bogey.
Cabrera-Bello bounced right back with a birdie on the par-3 fourth. He ran off three straight pars from the fifth before moving to 10-under with a birdie at the eighth.
However, he faltered to a bogey on the ninth to slip back into a share of the lead.
"I played really solid. I started with a birdie on the 10th, which was my first hole, and backed it up with a birdie on the 18th, so everything was working nicely," Cabrera-Bello stated. "The back nine the wind picked up a little bit and it got a bit tougher, but overall really pleased."
Lee birdied the first for the second day in a row to start his round. He wrapped birdies at five and seven around a bogey on the sixth. He also bogeyed the ninth to make the turn at minus-5.
The Scotsman jumped up the leaderboard as he birdied three of the first four holes around the turn. After three pars in a row, Lee birdied the 17th to finish at minus-9.
"I'm delighted. I got the ball rolling nicely," Lee said. "I had a few loose shots, but holed a few nice putts."
Baldwin followed his opening-round 67 with an even-par 72 to finish 36 holes at minus-4, while Wattel stumbled to a 3-over 75 and is further behind at minus-2.
NOTES: Cabrera-Bello has a piece of the 36-hole lead for the first time on the European Tour, while Lee is the second-round leader for the third time in his career ... Lee went on to finish fourth and tied for second the previous two times he was in this position ... Seventy-two players made the cut, among those that missed the weekend were FedExCup and Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Peter Uihlein, Paul Lawrie and Michael Campbell.
01/17 10:04:04 ET